Local journalist briefly detained for reporting on sexual harassment of child in SE Turkey

A local journalist has been briefly detained for sharing a video of an elderly man sexually harassing a 2-year-old girl in Turkey’s southeastern Şanlıurfa province in violation of a reporting ban, Turkish Minute reported.

On June 22, a 75-year-old man named Hüseyin Çiçek was captured on video while he is sexually harassing a child identified only by the initials S. İ. in the Siverek district of Şanlıurfa. Çiçek, who was initially detained on charges of “sexual abuse of a child,” was arrested by the court.

Mehmet Yetim, the editor-in-chief of local TV channel Kulis TV, was detained on Monday after he posted the video of Çiçek sexually harassing a child on his Twitter account in violation of a reporting ban imposed on the case.

Yetim announced his detention on social media, tweeting that he was just doing his job to protect the rights of an innocent child.

“If I have been arrested for this, then it is a medal [of honor] for me,” Yetim said, adding that it was “disheartening” for him to receive such treatment as a person who has always been loyal to his country and its people.

The journalist was released from detention later on Tuesday after testifying at the Siverek Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

It is common for journalists in Turkey, which has a poor record on freedom of the press, to face threats, physical attacks and legal harassment due to their work.

Rights groups routinely accuse the Turkish government of trying to keep the press under control by imprisoning journalists, eliminating media outlets, overseeing the purchase of media brands by pro-government conglomerates and using regulatory authorities to exert financial pressure, especially since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan survived a failed coup in July 2016.

Turkey is ranked 165th in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2023 World Press Freedom Index, among 180 countries, not far from North Korea, which occupies the bottom of the list.

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